December 12, 2016
When your business is new, building brand reputation and recognition from scratch, usually with a highly constricted budget, is a big challenge. On the one hand, you need to gain some prominence in the media but, on the other, waiting around for a major Web outlet to notice you can be a waste of time.
Getting your company and your work covered in major online outlets like Huffington Post and Forbes is an achievable goal if you’re willing to put in the work. Once you accomplish this, you can enjoy better brand visibility, the foundation for a good reputation in your industry, more traffic for your website, and more online followers on social media platforms. If things go well, you could even look forward to easier recruitment of talent, and maybe interest from investors, so the effort is definitely worth your time.
First impressions are important. Did you know that one study reported that people decide if they trust someone within 100 milliseconds of meeting them? Building trust requires work, sure, but re-building trust once you’ve made a bad impression is infinitely more difficult. So it’s essential to start out your brand recognition and brand building efforts right. Here’s how to do that.
To get the positive media coverage you want for your brand, you have to start with a strategy that includes a mix of tactics that are appropriate to your brand and your industry. Gaining media attention can get fast results today, in terms of new social media followers, better search engine results for relevant keywords, and an easier time getting backlinks from important journalists and publications.
Getting your content on top-tier business sites is something that a lot of new business owners want to do, so be prepared to bring your “A-game” when it’s time to submit content to these sites. Here are some specifics on what some of the top business sites require in order to publish your content.
If You Want to Publish Content on Forbes.com
Learn from someone who has done it. Josh Steimle has written dozens of articles for Forbes.com over the past four years. Forbes used to have a system where vetted contributors could blog about any topic, but today they require that contributors stick to their area of expertise. Once you’re given the greenlight, however, you post directly to the site. In other words, it won’t go through an editor first, though editors have the option of making minor changes after publication. Editors can also take down pieces altogether should a writer go too far off-topic. Bottom line: bring your best content, and if possible have someone with editorial skills go over it before you submit it.
Additionally, you should only submit original and exclusive content to Forbes. It will reject anything that’s been published elsewhere. You can submit your completed article, whatever its length, to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to have it considered it for one of Forbes’ opinion pages. Forbes will take several business days to evaluate what you sent them, so don’t expect an instant answer. If a week or two goes by and you haven’t heard back, you can safely assume a lack of interest and send your content elsewhere. Because of the volume of content it receives, Forbes simply can’t get in touch with every submitter.
You can also apply to become a regular Forbes contributor. The application is through a Google Form set up for that purpose. On the form, you’ll provide the usual contact information, along with links to your Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. You’ll also need to provide ideas about what you want your page to be. Link to examples of content you have already written and published, and explain why you are qualified to have a regular contributor’s page.
Steimle publishes articles weekly, and he applauds the site’s terrific analytics. When you regularly publish content on Forbes, you can quickly gauge how well your content is performing. The site also offers training webinars to help contributors create and publish content that will keep people coming back.
If You Want to Publish Content on Business Insider
In addition to pieces on technology, business and pop culture, Business Insider runs profile pieces, and this may be an option if you have a great start-up story to tell, particularly if it involved overcoming steep odds against you. A few years ago, founder of AdMark Technologies Thenuka Karunaratne set out to have his product featured on Business Insider, and he had to do so with essentially zero budget.
If your situation is similar, the first page to visit is How to Contribute to Business Insider. Instead of submitting a pitch, you send a final, polished draft of your content to email@example.com. Send your content along with an appropriate headline, links to your other content, and a brief bio statement.
Although Business Insider says someone will get back to you about your content, Karunaratne didn’t realize his content had been accepted until he Googled the topic and discovered the article had already been published. He also says that Business Insider sometimes picks up stories from other major sites, publishing content to relevant international editions as well. Getting your content on this site can expose it to millions of viewers worldwide.
If You Want to Publish Content on Huffington Post
Huffington Post obviously has a huge readership, so it can be an important outlet when you’re building your company’s brand. First, look through some of the content by top bloggers in the section for which you want to write. You can create your pitch based on the tone and style you find there. Your pitch should be brief, and should highlight what’s most compelling about your idea.
You submit your pitch and your final draft to Huffington Post at the same time by filling out a Google Form similar to the one used by Forbes. The draft of your article, which should be 500 to 1,000 words long, is pasted right into a blank on the form, so there’s no attaching or uploading files. You’ll hear back from Huffington Post only if it is interested in publishing your content.
Someone who has successfully published content on Huffington Post is Brian Ainsley Horn, co-founder at Authority Alchemy. He emphasizes that it’s not easy, but it’s definitely possible, and worth the effort. Since Huffington Post is a major “authority” site for business owners and content marketers, its SEO power is significant. Horn says publication on Huffington Post helped his content rank for several three- to five-word search terms within hours of being published.
Another Option to Consider: Republication on Medium.com
If you have some published content and there are no prohibitions against republishing it, you may consider putting it on Medium.com. Medium is a hot property at the moment and has a big audience. Moreover, republishing on Medium is essentially a cut and paste operation. Some people worry about Google penalizing them if they republish due to “duplicate content,” but that doesn’t affect you negatively as long as you’re syndicating your own content. What Google will do is show the version their algorithm predicts is most appropriate for each searcher, and it recommends that you include a link back to the original content in anything you syndicate.
To publish on Medium.com, all you need to do is create an account there, which you can do with your e-mail account, or your Twitter, Google+, or Facebook account. You can gain some extra traction for your content by publishing it on Medium, and if you want to do this, you’re first advised to check out the official Medium blog, 3 min read, to learn more about trending topics.
When you’re building your brand using the tried and true method of publishing powerful, engaging content, of course you want it to have the largest audience possible. Getting content published on Business Insider, Huffington Post, or Forbes isn’t as easy as putting content on your own site, but the effort can be worthwhile. Just make sure you follow each site’s instructions to the letter and submit content that works with their readerships.
Mary Hiers is a full-time writer for MediaShower.com and other clients, specializing in technology, business, and healthcare. She lives in Tennessee and spends free time learning about the World War II European Theater and reading mid-20th century American authors. And if it’s time for your business to get serious about content marketing, check out The Ultimate Guide to Blog Writing Services.